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Cisco to launch ASR 1000 router in Second Life demo

Aggregating data, voice and video lowers costs and carbon footprint, vendor says

March 3, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Cisco Systems Inc. will launch a new router today for processing data, voice and video that is built atop its new QuantumFlow Processor. The router is the result of five years' research and an investment of $250 million.

The new Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 will be available next month in two-, four- and six-rack-unit sizes, starting at $35,000, Cisco officials said.

The ASR 1000 is intended for use in WAN applications at what is termed the network edge -- those areas outside of the data center and in locations such as surrounding buildings in a campus setting.

The ASR 1000 is Cisco's highest-performance and most efficient router and features instant-on provisioning, said Jonathan Davidson, Cisco's director of product management for midrange routing.

The embedded capabilities of the new router will eliminate the need to deploy multiple single-function applications in addition to a router, helping to lower costs and reducing the carbon footprint, Davidson added. Combined functions include a firewall, IPsec VPN, deep packet inspection and session border control. Matt Davy, chief network architect at Indiana University in Bloomington, said his team has been successfully testing one of the six-rack-unit models in a lab for about a month. It could be used in support of high-bandwidth applications, such as video, without add-on modules needing to be purchased, he said, although the school has no specific purchasing plans.

Also, the router can be kept in service while a software upgrade is performed, he said. "Plus," he added, "it's small for all the performance it offers."

The new QuantumFlow Processor integrates two chips, one for packet processing and the other for buffering, queuing and scheduling functions, Davidson said.

Its processing power is equal to 19.2 billion instructions in the same time it takes an average person to blink. It supports 160 simultaneous processes and has 40 cores, making it the biggest networking chip yet, analysts said.

Cisco scheduled a public announcement for the ASR 1000 for noon Eastern today, using a Second Life virtual reality demonstration, a spokeswoman said.

The ASR 1000 "brings the features that administrators want, namely reliability, security and speed," said Steven Schuchart Jr., an analyst at Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Va. "Because of that, we expect that it will do well in the market."

Read more about Networking in Computerworld's Networking Topic Center.

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